Elizabeth Cotten (1893-1987) occupies a unique niche in American finger-picked guitar. Composer of the perennial favorite "Freight Train", she taught herself to play left-handed on her older brother's guitar (which was strung right-handed), leaving her playing not only left-handed, but upside down as well, picking alternating bass with her index finger and melody with her thumb. Her musical gifts might have gone unknown except to family and friends had not a chance meeting in a Washington D.C. department store resulted in her living with and working for the Seeger family, who were excited when they heard her music and enabled her to record.
What then, is Elizabeth Cotten's sound? It is a beautifully flowing fingerpicked style with exceptional attention to the details of phrasing and voice leading. There is a strong improvisatory element too, because renditions of the same song performed throughout Libba's career are often surprisingly different from each other. This DVD includes rare film footage of Elizabeth Cotten performing all the songs that are taught and the accompanying booklet includes tab/standard notation transcriptions and lyrics of the songs.
Titles include: Freight Train, Mama, Your Papa Loves You, Spanish Flang Dang, Oh Babe, It Ain't No Lie, Vestapol and Wilson Rag.
102 minutes • Level 2 • 39 page PDF tab/music booklet
Review: Classic. I've become entranced with the ragtime songs of Elizabeth Cotten. This is one video that really walks the relative novice (me) thru the songs. I've been able to incrementally learn some classics. And the footage of Elizabeth playing her songs, as no other can, all I can say is “wow”! – Jerry/Amazon Customer Review